Interactive Historic Map of Lower Manhattan


This interactive historic map is filled with resources to enhance your curriculum. Whether you are studying local, global, or social history or architecture, the streets are a tremendous tool for learning.

Use this site to:

  • Download historic images.
  • Play podcasts of scholars to bring the voices of experts into your classroom.
  • Take a virtual walking tour of historic New York.
  • Explore change over time by comparing older images of a map site to images of the same site today.

Discussion Questions

  • Describe the place and its setting.
  • Look closely. Identify specific details about the location, size, shape, design, setting, and other characteristics. What do your observations suggest about the place’s age, purpose, function, and evolution?
  • What do you think the place suggests about people, events, or ways of life from the past?
  • How is a site related to the larger local and global story?
  • Would you want to visit? How would it feel to be there? What might you hear? Smell?
  • How has the site changed over time?

Classroom Extensions

  • Use the Newcomers to New York map to “time travel” to the city’s early history. Have students walk in the footsteps of the diverse ethnic groups who have made New York City their home. Students can write diary entries about their daily life and the places they visit, as well as enact local scenes.
  • The Newcomers to New York map includes a sampling of historic sites in Lower Manhattan. Identify or have students identify additional sites to include in a map about the particular period in history they are studying in class. Using Google My Maps, have students create customized maps including historic images and descriptive information about the site. If the technology is available, create and upload a podcast highlighting the site’s significance.
  • Artist Adrienne Ottenberg painted watercolors representative of the sites included in the Newcomers to New York map. Look at her watercolors and explore her choices, considerin both the use of color and symbols. Have students make original drawings to represent other significant historic sites covered in the curriculum.
  • Explore street names to uncover another layer of history. For example, Pearl Street, which appears in the Newcomers to New York map was named for the pearly oyster shells that littered the street during colonial times – before consumption and pollution destroyed the local oyster beds. Notice the names of the streets that appear on the map or in another neighborhood and have students research the origin of their names.